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Chondrocyte Death Associated with Human Femoral Osteochondral Harvest as Performed for Mosaicplasty
J.S. Huntley, DPhil(Oxon), MRCS1; P.G. Bush, PhD2; J.M. McBirnie, FRCS3; A.H. Simpson, DM(Oxon), FRCS1; A.C. Hall, PhD2
1 Musculoskeletal Research Unit, School of Clinical and Surgical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, United Kingdom. E-mail address for J.S. Huntley: jimhuntley@doctors.net.uk
2 School of Biomedical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Hugh Robson Building, George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9XD, United Kingdom
3 Department of Orthopaedics, New Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Little France, Old Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh EH16 4SA, United Kingdom
View Disclosures and Other Information
In support of their research or preparation of this manuscript, one or more of the authors received grants or outside funding from the Arthritis Research Campaign (H0621) and the Wellcome Trust (045925/Z/95/A). None of the authors received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated. Smith and Nephew provided the mosaicplasty harvest kits free of charge.
Investigation performed at University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2005 Feb 01;87(2):351-360. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.D.02086
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Background: Autologous osteochondral transfer is an option for the treatment of articular defects. However, there are concerns about graft integration and the nature of the tissue forming the cartilage-cartilage bridge. Chondrocyte viability at graft and recipient edges is thought to be an important determinant of the quality of repair. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate early cell viability at the edges of osteochondral grafts from ex vivo human femoral condyles.

Methods: Fresh human tissue was obtained from eleven knees at the time of total knee arthroplasty for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Osteochondral cylinders were harvested with use of a 4.5-mm-diameter mosaicplasty osteotome from regions of the anterolateral aspect of the femoral condyle that were macroscopically nondegenerate and histologically nonfibrillated. Plugs were assessed for marginal cell viability by means of confocal laser scanning microscopy.

Results: The diameter of the cartilaginous portion of the osteochondral plugs was a mean (and standard error of the mean) of 4.84 ± 0.12 mm (as determined on the basis of three plugs). This value was approximately 300 µm greater than the measured internal diameter of the osteotome. There was a substantial margin of superficial zone cell death (mean thickness, 382 ± 68.2 µm), with >99% cell viability seen more centrally (as determined on the basis of five plugs). Demiplugs were created by splitting the mosaicplasty explants with a fresh number-11 scalpel blade. The margin of superficial zone cell death at the curved edge was significantly greater than that at the site of the scalpel cut (390.3 ± 18.8 µm compared with 34.8 ± 3.2 µm; p = 0.0286). Similar findings were observed when the cartilage alone was breached and the bone was left intact, with the margin of superficial zone cell death being significantly greater than that obtained in association with the straight scalpel incision (268 ± 38.9 µm compared with 41.3 ± 13.4 µm; p = 0.0286). The margin of superficial zone cell death showed no increase during the time-period between fifteen minutes and two hours after plug harvest. A mathematical approximation of the mosaicplasty region suggested that early cell death of this magnitude affects about one third of the superficial graft area.

Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that mosaicplasty, while capable of transposing viable hyaline cartilage, is associated with an extensive margin of cell death that is likely to compromise lateral integration and articular reconstruction.

Clinical Relevance: The data suggest that there is a need to improve the plug-harvest technique, which may improve graft-recipient healing and clinical outcomes.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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